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    • I'm getting requests for a place to ask questions of the G+ panel. The unbelievable rise and fall of that network is quite a conundrum, no? Especially when you consider all the people weighing in who LOVED it. Anyway, if you have questions of the panel, ask them here and I'll see if I can get answers. 🙂

    • Chris, I may need to cut back on the coffee, but my take on the decision to bin G+ because of privacy lapses was that this explanation lacked credibility.

      If G+ was leaky, then other things being equal, you would fix the leak rather than throw the bucket away.

      My suspicion is this was a cover story to disguise the real reason, which was that Google simply wasn't seeing any material revenue streams emerging from G+. The platform was not monetising its subscriber base to sufficient degree.

      Ironically, this is one of the many reasons why users did like G+. There was not the sense that you were being used as data-fodder for someone.

      I would be interested to hear what your panel thinks of my "non-monetising" theory.

    • I'm probably not the most eloquent person in the room, but from the users (as opposed to influencers) wouldn't it seem like the goal is to NOT be the next...oh, I don't know - let's use MySpace as an example?

      How does this get prevented - another 'closed' environment like Cake, FB, et. al. or all the noise I hear about diaspora* and like-minded attempts at decentralization?

      I may have a follow-up, but start with that.

    • A successful service often needs three things: Relevance, Community and Evolution. (Simply said... being on topic, having cool people, and continuing to be updated)

      For the panelists, what drew you to G+ in the first place, and what would you have done differently?

      Disclosure for those who don't know: I work at Google and was on the initial Google+ marketing team in 2011.

    • What I've seen from communities on the Web is they translate from real world connections or spawn them. Did you find that Google+ drew you to people you already knew, or did you instead find that you discovered people on the service who are part of your network today?

      Same Disclosure: I work at Google and was on the initial Google+ marketing team in 2011.

    • In January 2012, with Google+ a few months old, I hosted @Daria at the Plex. She was fantastic. In fact, after her performance, including a rousing rendition of our all-time favorite hit, +1 me, SVP Vic Gundotra found me in the hallway and thanked me for inviting her. I remember his comments verbatim... "I had no idea... she was so good."

      @Daria was amazing. I'd like to ask her to tell her story of getting inspired by the network and writing this song. She was always such a delight, even as we'd add her to live hangouts with others interested in the platform.

    • You hit on possibly the defining difference between G+, Facebook and others.

      That is that it allowed you to make new contacts and along lines of common interest. The Communities aspect was, for me at least, such a rewarding way to expand my social horizons, ask questions, learn new things.

      As I have seen said elsewhere, Facebook is really rooted in a "friends and family" perspective and, whilst very nice on its way, it does not really grow one's social footprint.

      Quite why G+ had this edge is probably down to a bunch of things but for me the UI is a large factors. The way the G+ functionality worked encouraged a outward looking experience. I am sure I am not the only one to find the Facebook UI rather ugly, cumbersome and unpleasant to use.

    • Chris, in a related post you speculated about someone buying the G+ platform off Google.

      That's a really interesting thought. What would you think it's value might be as stand alone offering cut loose from Google?

      Even more interesting - what if current subscribers could congregate together to buy such an entity? As shareholders, in a way. Or perhaps "Cooperative" might be the better term? It might be a modest outlay per subscriber.

      Oh well. Back to the world of dreams.

    • long ago I had a FB account and my network arose from real world. But in the decade I was on G+ even though I made nearly a thousand friends, a few of whom I'd consider to now be close friends - I have never met another G+'er face-to-face. But they are all welcome in my home any time. We will not simply go our separate ways.

    • I was definitely attracted to Google Plus because of the ability to discover people who I did not know. Of the thousands of people who signed up for the Scrivener Users community, I am sure that I did not know 99% of them on the day I started that community.

      One of the main reasons that I continue to engage on Cake is that I can communicate with people who are not known to me about things which are of mutual interest.

      Incidentally, I liked the G+ as a hub strategy. I liked having a URL for a profile page in the original (2011) G+ platform, in which I could provide more information to people who I trusted. Less information to those with whom I was acquainted and even less to the general public. I liked being able to decide between public postings, circle postings and topical postings (Communities and Collections)

      The one thing that I did not like was that Google seemed to be more interested in growing the number of G+ accounts than it was in making certain that people understood the difference between the FB "friending" paradigm and the G+ "broadcasting" paradigm. To many people left G+ out of being confused about how it worked.

    • Fascinating, James. I've been loving your posts in various places on Cake about your experiences with G+ and here.

      This is similar to how many people use the radio or television. They do not listen to every broadcast which is shown on a given station but rather select the programs in which they are interested.

      This is an area where I feel that Cake has a problem. The reason that my profile does not display my posts is because there is no segmentation of subjects in Cake's profile feature.

      I do not want to subject people that are interested in Literature and Latte's Scrivener application to a discussion on the L.A.B. colorspace because that is not the reason that they would want to view my profile.

      It's extremely perceptive and helpful for us as we think about how to improve the service.

    • G+ completely missed the trend of moving towards much simpler social communication tools. Instagram, whatsapp, snapchat, are products that Google could have made with <1% of the staff they had working on G+, but their vision was to make a better Facebook (already very complex) rather than building the next big thing.

      Using G+ today, you can still see how much better their interface and reading/privacy controls are than FB, and how they have search that actually works, but that's not what most people really cared about.

    • I was part of the Beta in 2011, and an evangelist for the platform practically right up until the final death was announced. The single biggest lesson I learned was that you can't trust a company the size of Google or Facebook to do what's good for the users.

    • Ow, I'm sorry. I had my own shocking dramas with Facebook Groups.

      First, someone invited me to a closed group and I got auto-added. I figured the auto-add feature was a product of the growth at any costs team. It wasn't a group I wanted my name associated with but I was busy and anyway, it was closed, right? What could go wrong?

      I didn't realize that closed meant open as far as being able to see who was a member and a few days later I was embarrassed in a meeting when someone called me out for being a member of the group. It's the first time I really became aware of how important online privacy could be.

      Second, some wonderful gay teens I knew had joined a secret group as they struggled with what to do about coming out. They didn't know that, until a group has 5,000 members, the admin can change the group to be closed or public, which this one did. And that's how their parents found out they were gay.

      The product manager for Slack explained why you can't do that in a private Slack channel: it's about values trumping growth at all costs. That's why the default at Slack is to not notify you of activity when you might be sleeping. Big data would say do it, more engagement. Values would say let them sleep unless they explicitly tell us they want notifications at night.

      I hope we will always be like Slack and put values first, growth second.

    • Indeed. Elsewhere I speculated that G+ was axed because Google could not sufficiently monetise revenue from it. Whilst one might imagine that the likes of Google have so much cash that they did not need to worry about such mundane commercial considerations, the fact is that this is a listed business with publicly traded stock. That changes a lot of things. I remain of the opinion that the platform succumbed to the old fashioned problem of being unprofitable.

    • I remember a friend telling me that your privacy settings in FB got reset to public after every version update. I thought at the time that this was probably a willful action by FB to create more engagements, even by questionable means. The disregard for the potentially catastrophic consequences of this deception - if true - is breathtaking. Would be interested if anyone can corroborate this practice. ..

    • Thankful I have not succumbed to signing up for FB for a multitude of reasons.

      My wife shares with me a few nuggets from time to time, and I'm sure the FB shadow profile on me is highly suspect. Too bad the only solution it would seem would be to sign up and never use the service using a virgin email account and provider.

      I never had that concern with G+ - I mean, you already knew that they had your information, simply by owning and operating an Android device/being in their ecosystem for a decade.

      Water under the bridge and all of that...

    • I think G+ was axed because it was basically a visible Google failure. As long as it existed it would be a public reminder that Google tried to compete with Facebook and gave up and failed. By killing it they probably hope that it fades from view in our public memory. There was little upside to them to continue offering it. Without promotion and sponsorship from Google it would never grow. And Facebook is now too formidable a competitor for them in social.

    • I apologize if this is slightly off-topic, but dredmorbius<at>protonmail<dot>com would be grateful to hear from you about setting up an "Ask-me-anything" (AMA) Q&A session about if you are interested. It would be publicized on G+ as a way to inform about the relative merits of this platform. I believe Edward Morbius has a considerable audience regarding these matters.